For part 1, check out last weeks post.
Canberra to Eucumbene 169kms
After another sub-freezing start – gotta love Canberra in the winter – it was off to Eucumbene with a stop in Cooma for groceries, alcohol and the cheapest but worst sausage roll of the road trip. Normally Cooma sausage rolls are reliable, but this one was – horror of all horrors – microwaved. Sacrilege.
Although it was as cold as it usually is there was no snow this year. Substantial falls were forecast on the day we left. Such is life.
It was also drier than we’ve seen it with the dam all but empty.
Clancy of the Campfire
In terms of the #clancyofthecampfire cooking challenge, there was plenty of amazing food – all prepared and cooked outside in either camp (Dutch) ovens or on the Oz Pig… or a combo of both.
We had bread and damper, and frankfurts two ways – cooked in the billy and wrapped in the damper and cooked on sticks in the fire.
Yes, folks, I give you the damper dog.
We had camp versions of coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon. Note to self – I must learn how to style and photograph brown food.
We had brownies and golden syrup dumplings (cooked in the billy can), and we also had French Savoury Cake. I’ve previously posted the recipe for that one here.
My personal fave for the weekend, though, was steamed dumplings with chilli soy sauce. Super yummy – and goes to prove that there is no limit to what you can cook in a camp oven.
Naturally, there were also jaffles – to use up all the leftovers.
In terms of weather, we had howling winds, driving rain, clear blue days and starry starry nights. Just the usual mixed bag really – and enough to give us a challenge in the outdoor cooking stakes.
Eucumbene to Cowra 363kms
It was raining when we left Eucumbene and we took the unsealed shortcut road across to the Snowy Mountains Highway, coming across black ice and other hazards.
The rain had turned to snow by the time we got to Adaminaby and was falling quite heavily as we began the climb up the mountain. As an aside, it’s compulsory for two-wheel drive cars to carry chains on this part of the road during the winter months (AWD and 4WD vehicles are exempt.
Even with 4WD engaged it wasn’t the easiest of drives – but the approach into Kiandra was very pretty.
Until the establishment of Cabramurra, Kiandra, an old gold-mining town, was the highest town in Australia. It’s also said to be the birthplace of Australian skiing. There you go.
We pulled in at Tumut for a sausage roll (incidentally the second best of the trip) and a coffee. I’ve always liked this town – the rolling hills and the countryside around here are lovely (and a tad greener than most other places at the moment).
Aside from being the gateway to the Snowy River Scheme, Tumut was one of the towns short-listed to become what is now the Australian Capital Territory. Albury, Armidale, Dalgety, Tooma and Orange were some of the other towns on the list, but the House of Representatives favoured Tumut and the Senate favoured Bombala. It was after that stalemate that Canberra was chosen.
Young, the cherry capital of Australia, was our lunch stop. Young also has the dubious claim to fame of being the scene of the Lambing Flats Riots during the gold rush and was the first town in Australia to install electricity into both streets and homes. Wilders Bakery also does a pretty good chicken and vegetable soup.
Our overnight stay was at Cowra.
During WW2 Cowra was home to a massive prisoner of war camp. In 1944 over 500 Japanese POWs attempted a mass breakout. The casualties are buried in the Japanese War Cemetary here in town. A Japanese Garden – the largest in the southern hemisphere – was also built to reinforce the cultural links between Japan and Cowra.
I took a drive up to check out where the old POW camp was, but the light was fading too much for me to visit the gardens.
Where we stayed: Cowra Services Motel. After three nights in sleeping bags, the king-sized bed at the Cowra Services Motel felt like the height of luxury.
Where we ate: Cowra Services Club
Cowra to Armidale 584kms
Today we covered scenery and towns that I haven’t been through since we used to do the Merriwa to Tumbarumba run back in the mid-late 70s. Although interesting scenery, today’s drive was not one for great stops. Wellington – a really lovely town – was too close for a morning tea stop and anywhere else decent was too far away or by-passed.
After going past Gulgong (the town on the old ten dollar note) we ended up at a rest area and another billboard on the solar system drive.
With the local trading post and somebody done somebody wrong songs on the radio we drove into Werris Creek for lunch where we found two points of interest – one being the town’s status as Australia’s first railway town, and the second being that Werris Creek was used as a location in Angelina Jolie’s film “Unbroken.”
We finally made it into Armidale just after 4pm when the local temperature was just 2C with a wind chill factor bringing it below freezing.
This is possibly my favourite town in NSW. We stop here whenever we do the Sydney – Sunshine Coast run and it’s a place I especially enjoy in the winter. Being a university town it also has a great secondhand bookshop and I went a tad over the top on some travel memoirs.
Where we stayed: Armidale Pines Motel. This was probably the best motel of the trip. Good sized, comfy rooms and no road noise at all. Plus we were just a block and a half away from our favourite pub…
Where we ate: The White Bull. This place has a great fit-out, a good vibe, and does an amazing steak. We eat here whenever we’re in town.
Armidale to Sunshine Coast 589kms
Very little to be said about today’s drive other than we both just wanted to get home.
It was too early to stop at Tenterfield for one of the best pies on the highway at Federation Pies, so our morning tea stop was at The Church at Thulimbah, just north of Stanhope. I had a go at recreating their orange and almond cake over the weekend.
Other than that? A forgettable lunch stop at Gatton and home by mid-afternoon.
In total, we travelled just over 3600 kms and visited some fabulous (and some not so fabulous) towns. We saw first-hand the impact of the drought, and also saw other areas which, although still drought-affected, were faring slightly better.
We had a ball staying in motels and eating at local pubs and clubs – and found something interesting and endearing in each of them. As for our next road trip? I’m thinking Sunshine Coast to Port Douglas (1700kms) and maybe back via Longreach (another 2400kms)…Maybe next winter…
It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…
It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, Debbish, Seize the Day Project, Write of the Middle, 50 Shades of Age, and, of course, me.